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Cálem 2006 Late Bottled Vintage Porto

Review: Cálem 2006 LBV Port Wine  88/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published June 27, 2013

Porto Cálem was founded in 1859 by Antonio Alves Cálem and remained a family business for 4 generations. Since 1998  however, (although the Cálem family remain with the company as minority shareholders) Cálem has been part of the Portuguese Wine company, Sogevinus SGPS, S.A.

Porto Cálem Late Bottled Vintages are produced from red grapes grown in the Douro Valley of Portugal. The wine is aged between 4 to 6 years in oak casks and in wine vats. Because Cálem filters their LBV’s before bottling, their style of Late Bottled Vintage Port wine does not benefit from further aging in the bottle. It is ready to be served and does not require decanting.

(Note: I received my sample bottle from Woodman Wines and Spirits who advised me that 196 cases Calem LBV Port were to be released through Vintages (in the Province of Ontario) on June 22nd.)

SAM_0744 Calem LBV 2006In the Bottle 4/5

I wish I could shake some sense into the various producers of Port wine. When I look at my Port Wine shelf in my cold room, all of the Port wine bottles from all of the producers look so similar. There is no pizzazz or flair.

The Cálem LBV 2006 represents the same trend. I think perhaps, that the wine houses in Portugal feel that their name alone is sufficient to garner the attention of the consumer. And perhaps they are right within their current major markets. But, I do not live in one of these major markets for Port Wine, and even my friends who occasionally enjoy Port Wine do not really have a very firm grasp of the differences in style between the different Port Wine Houses. A little more history on the label and a little more flair in the presentation would go a long way in pushing my friends and I to buy one brand over another.

The Cálem LBV 2006 does provide some basic information on the bottle, that it is a LBV from 2006, and that it is bottled at 20 % alcohol by volume. But not much else is there to guide the consumer.

In the Glass 22/25

The Cálem LBV 2006 Port Wine Port Wine looks rich and luscious in the glass. It carries deep dark purple tones at the center of the glass and even the crest at the top carries rich purplish hues. The aroma is soft and full of sweet purple fruit as the breezes above the glass bring forward smells of plump fresh dark-red cherries, black raspberry jam, and sticky plum sauce. I seem to smell a vague earthiness under the ripe fruit as impressions of rich damp humus fill soil seem to be hinted at. There is also a light spiciness which for me is reminiscent of wood chips drying in the sun.

However, it is the soft smells of the fresh fruit and jam which dominate the glass beguiling my senses, and I could not resist stealing a full glass before I began to write my tasting notes.

In the Mouth 44/50

I am deeply impressed with the Cálem LBV. That soft fruit filled aroma translates very well onto the palate. The wine is warm and lush with softly polished cherry and raspberry flavours dominating the entry and lightly dry flavours of raisins, grape skins, and cherry skins lying underneath. Fresh fruit flavours (blackberries and soft dark cherries in particular) seem to build with each subsequent sip, and it is only when I strain my imagination that I find dry fruity flavours of raisin and dates within the flavour stream as well. It may sound kind of crazy; but the wine brings images to my mind of warm toast with a light covering of butter and jam.

As I continue to steal sips from the glass, I notice a light dryness has developed upon my palate as the tannins and light acidity of the Port have puckered my mouth slightly. A subtle spicy quality which contains impressions of wood spices and tobacco seem to accompany this light acidity.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The finish is lightly dry, but full of those soft and warm fruit flavours which I love. I notice the acidity and the mouth drying flavour of cherry skins more in the exit than in the entry, but I also notice a few baking spices and tiny bits of brown sugar which have heretofore gone undetected. That light dryness is lovely as it causes my mouth to water which seems to lead me very quickly into pouring a second glass.

My Final Impressions  4.5/5

The Cálem LBV 2006 Port Wine is, for my palate, a very good Port Wine. The flavours are soft and rich with fresh fruit flavours building in the glass as it breathes. The light acidity the wine carries into the taste experience seems to be the perfect complement to this lush flavour.

If you are interested in food pairings, I tried an afternoon glass with white goat cheese spread upon lightly salted crackers and found the experience completely delightful. As an after dinner treat, I found creamy dark chocolate mousse and a glass of Calem 2006 LBV Port is hard to beat.

If you are interested in some comparative reviews, here is a link to all of my Port Wine Reviews!

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Note: My Wine Scores are computed in the same manner as my scores for distilled spirits. This means that my total score out of 100 is generally lower than what you would see in popular wine rating magazines. (Those magazines appear to have a system which scores almost all wines at 85 points or more.)

My system is described below and you may (loosely) interpret my scores as follows:

0-25     A wine with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    A mediocre wine which will excite no one.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, still rather unexciting.
80-84    Enjoyment begins here.
85-89    Very good to excellent!
90-94    You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this one yet…but I want to.

 

 
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